While there are still only 5 female historical statues in New York City—and there are still around 145 male historical statues in New York City—that will change soon. The first monument commissioned under the She Built NYC initiative, helmed by First Lady Chirlane McCray, will honor political trailblazer and author Shirley Chisholm, the first woman ever to seek the Democratic Party's nomination for president of the United States, and the first black woman elected to serve in Congress, representing NY's 12th Congressional District from 1969 to 1983. And now, the monument's design and artists have been chosen.
The statue will be installed in Prospect Park (near the Parkside and Ocean Avenue perimeters) in 2020, and today the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs (DCLA) and women.nyc (NYCEDC) announced that artist team Amanda Williams and Olalekan Jeyifous have been selected. Their design, called "Our Destiny, Our Democracy," will "be refined as it proceeds through additional community input and public review," according to today's announcement:
DCLA and Percent for Art will now work with the artists to refine design with input from the Parks Department, which is the sponsor agency, Prospect Park Alliance, and community stakeholders. The proposal will then be presented to local community boards for further comment and review, before being submitted to the City’s Public Design Commission this fall. Up to $1 million will be available for the commissioning of the monument.
"She Built NYC is transforming public art in our City by honoring the contributions of women who helped build and shape it," said McCray, adding that Chisholm’s monument "will be bright, bold, and makes a statement—just like Chisholm herself."
The design was selected out of five proposals, which were unveiled in March of this year, around the same time She Built NYC announced commissions for four other monuments honoring women—here are the other statues coming through that program:
- Billie Holiday, Queens. In her home borough near Queens Borough Hall. Holiday lived in Addisleigh Park and later in Flushing.
- Elizabeth Jennings Graham, Manhattan: In the Vanderbilt Avenue Corridor near Grand Central Terminal.
- Dr. Helen Rodríguez Trías, the Bronx. At St. Mary’s Park.
- Katherine Walker, Staten Island. At the Staten Island Ferry Landing.
There is also a statue featuring Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony coming to Central Park next year, through a different initiative; this will be Central Park's first statue featuring real women.